VCF Position Statement: FGM

VCF Position Statement: FGM

Whilst the practice is still going on in Somalia, younger (second generation) Somalis in the UK accept the practice as wrong although believe it will take time to work through, perhaps a generation. Many believe that we need to address the root cause.

“From the view of our communities, FGM is a cultural practice that if not carried out would lead to being stigmatised and in most cases would probably leave that particular individual with little or no hope of being married. It isn’t just about chastity which many hold dear, it is also the view that anyone who isn’t circumcised would be unclean and ungodly and more susceptible to disease.”

“As a man, I don’t necessarily condone the practice of FGM, but it was important when I looked for a wife that she had undergone FGM – that’s our tradition. Now, I would absolutely not accept for my daughter to have the procedure.”

The increase and prevalence of FGM has largely been seen through health settings, often prior to, or during childbirth. FGM survivors previously accessed the help that they needed within the community, only turning to health professionals when they reach a point of crisis.

Today, there is an ongoing conflict between health professionals; trying to support the health and wellbeing needs of those being treated, and the Police; who are proactively seeking referrals. The background of such cases is that the practice is viewed positively by those [family] who still support the practice, and thus is difficult for a young person to speak out against one’s family or community; not difficult out of fear, rather difficult because these are people that they love.

The view of the community is that more work needs to be done ‘at home’ (in countries where the practice is prevalent); Somalia, Ethiopia, Egypt, Senegal, Gambia, Mali, sub Saharan Africa, and Middle East countries being cited by most. Many within the community do not know of the practice being carried out in the UK and to-date there has been a lack of evidence in this regard.

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